As I begin publishing my first blogs from this year’s trip to Israel and Palestine, I realize I am excited to share some of the voices of the people I meet here. Here are a few from my first few days in Jerusalem.
From a religious Jewish woman with whom I am co-teaching a class on Nonviolent Communication and Hassidic thought:
I was in such a rush today to pick up my grandson while my daughter is at school, and get to my class on time, that I forgot to get money for the bus. So I just threw in 50 shekels instead of 75 and ran off the bus. I didn’t even thank the bus driver who was so nice to me. I was so upset by my forgetting to thank him and tell him I had forgotten my money that I couldn’t teach my class on exile. I was in exile from myself.
From a 27 year old nurse from Gaza, Mohammed, whom I met in his hospital room in East Jerusalem:
(Spoken in Arabic and translated by his uncle Sami who accompanied him in the ambulance from Gaza and his hospital roommate, peacemaker Haj Ibrahim, in Muqased Hospital). Two weeks ago I worked my shift in the hospital. One week ago I was near death my blood platelets were near zero and the hospital I work in has no medicine, electricity or clean water. I came here under a special permit and they only allowed one person to come with me. Sami came because my father was denied a permit. This is the first time I met the rest of my family, from Haifa. It is the first time I am meeting Jewish people [me and my friends!].
From a Mizrachi ( middle eastern) Jewish woman, born in Israel from Moroccan parents:
I am excited to work with a group of Mizrachi women from south tel aviv who are standing with the [African} refugees. We are saying we accept the refugees here and we want better living conditions for them and for the Jews of color. The increasing racism is a product of the Occupation. As long as there is one nation that doesn’t feel free and equal, racism will grow, divisions will grow,
violence will grow.
From a Canadian-Israeli Jewish woman, who is a teacher in a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem, looking out from the veranda of the apartment I am staying in: When I look out and see the Separation Wall, I feel sick.
From a Canadian-Israeli Jewish man standing on the veranda with us- when I look out I feel grateful for the army because they make it possible for us to be together celebrating shabbat here.